Italian Holiday and Winter Food Treats: Cherry Panettone, Cerignola Bomba Pugliese (Spicey Spread), Fig Syrup, and Frantoi Cutrera Extra Virgin Olive Oils

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Rustichella D' Abruzzo Cherry Panettone - wonderfully wrapped and even better to eat with a glass of prosecco
Rustichella D' Abruzzo Cherry Panettone - wonderfully wrapped and even better to eat with a glass of prosecco

Italian Holiday and Winter Food Treats: Cherry Panettone, Cerignola Bomba Pugliese (Spicey Spread), Fig Syrup, and Frantoi Cutrera Extra Virgin Olive Oils

The Christmas season is a wonderful time to celebrate food in Italy.  In fact, almost every region of Italy produces holiday specific delicacies from special stuffed pastas to incredible desserts such as Panettone, Paneforte, and Torrone.

One of our favorite holiday items is panettone which is traditionally made with rich brioche bread and baked with candied fruits.  We recently sampled Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s  Amarene (black Morello cherries) Panettone scented with natural vanilla and we were blown away by the quality and flavor of the limited production holiday treat.  We enjoyed the cherry panettone with a glass of prosecco after a leisurely Sunday meal and it was fantastic.

Another tasty and spicy treat we sampled was the Cerignola Bomba Pugliese; translated as the “Pugliese Bomb.”  The spicy mix is a super condiment filled with crushed red peppers, artichokes, vinegar, oil, and eggplant.  We used a bit of it, with a dash of mayonnaise, for an American style tuna sandwich and it knocked our winter socks off (the label “bomb” is appropriate!).

A spicy spread called Bomba Pugliese!
A spicy spread called Bomba Pugliese!
A spicy spread called Bomba Pugliese - great color and intense flavor.
A spicy spread called Bomba Pugliese - great color and intense flavor.

We also sampled a fig syrup from our home province of Calabria (Cosenza specifically).  The fig syrup is made from dryed figs picked in September and October.  The fig syrup is very good on plain Greek yogurt or as the very good online retailer Olio2Go suggests on Cheesecake.

Small tomatoes in olive oil and fig syrup from Calabria
Small tomatoes in olive oil and fig syrup from Calabria

Finally, the new olive oil harvesting season is upon us (in Italy, olives are harvested in November, December, and January and then bottled in the new year) and we were lucky enough to start cooking with a special Gran Cru monocultivar selection from the noted olive oil producer, Frantoi Cutrera.  We’re anticipating using both the very good all-around Moresca and Cerasuola monocultivars in salads, on meats, and with good bread!

The exquisite Frantoi Cutrera Extra Virgin Olive Oils
The exquisite Frantoi Cutrera Extra Virgin Olive Oils
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